Crowdsourcing and 3D printing appear to be all the rage at the moment. Earlier this month, Local Motors created the world’s first 3D printed car, based on a design submitted to a crowdsourcing contest.
Now there’s news that a General Electric (GE) affiliate called FirstBuild is going to use crowdsourcing and 3D printers to build the next generation of household appliances, revolutionary products to make our lives easier. They could be anything from food blenders and garbage disposal units to grilling machines and feature-packed water systems.
The aim is to get novel products to market quickly without spending heaps of cash on production tools.
GE has partnered with 3D printer maker Stratasys and is also securing help from Local Motors. The bold plan is to use crowdsourcing to garner ideas from outside the organisation, and then engineering students from the University of Louisville will work with Stratasys to turn concepts into prototypes.
The products will be made in a micro-factory in Louisville, Kentucky that houses the 3D printers as well as the tools required for manufacturing.
FirstBuild expects ideas to not only come from individual designers, enthusiasts and developers, but also to emerge from discussions between members of its online global community.
“This is an outstanding opportunity to help revolutionize the way things are made,” Gilad Gans, president of Stratasys North America, said in a statement. “This is an open-innovation environment where FirstBuild users will be able to use our cutting-edge technology to accelerate product development phases and create real products.”
Anyone looking to bring their home appliance ideas to market, possibly at breakneck speed, can register at FirstBuild’s website. As part of the online community, innovators are able to vote and comment on submitted ideas and receive advice from the crowd on their own concepts.
First Build also offers help and support to sell and promote manufactured products through its web store and on store shelves.